So----it would appear that the French military have sneaked in under the Aberporth Radar,and have the effrontery to operate unmanned aircraft in our airspace,with the connivance of Thales ! !
Nothing could be further from the truth. These training courses are arranged through QinetiQ,who are responsible for the operation of the Aberporth Range,with a presence at Parc Aberporth. The theoretical training for UAV operation is carried out by QinetiQ at Boscombe Down,Wiltshire, with the practical flying instruction on Watchkeeper being carried out, again under the auspices of QinetiQ,at the West Wales Airport
The UK contract for Watchkeeper was awarded to Thales, the French defence contractor,so there is nothing insidious in their involvement with the programme, coupled with the fact that France is one of our NATO allies
I cannot recall much in the way of complaints or morality issues, when many years ago, the German Army arrived in Pembrokeshire,to unload their tanks and begin what ran into many years of battlefield training on the Castlemartin and Pendine Ranges---another of our NATO allies.This all provided much needed employment for many in that area.
Thales is a French company,with bases in the Netherlands, Canada, and several in the UK,employing many people.
A similar situation would apply,if the contract had been awarded to British Aerospace---developement must go forward
Aircraft from many of our NATO allies have overflown the area for many years,carrying out live bombing and firing trials in Cardigan Bay. Many years ago, well prior to the Falklands War,even Argentina was involved,with their Destroyer,based in Fishguard Harbour carrying out Missile Firing in Cardigan Bay,controlled by RAE, Aberporth
Much more recently,we have discovered,due to a helicopter crash,that the American Air Force--another NATO ally,have been carrying out training flights over East Anglia,involving covert operation training flights along the Norfolk coastline.
So we are not alone in our beautiful and secluded corner of the United Kingdom----time and technical advances march on !